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The financial customer of 2025 (according to #firstdirect)

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I get all sorts of crappy press releases from public relations managers who are eager to see me prostitute my blog for them. Rarely would I post their stuff here unless it was seriously interesting or I feel very lazy or both. You can decide which category this fits into:

first direct identifies the factors likely to influence the banks of the future and what banks may offer to meet the needs of customers in 20125

9 June 2016

[first direct has] looked at the Institute of Customer Service’s new Customer of the Future report (£500) to see how the landscape will change for bank customers in the future and what it might mean for UK banks. Exploring future customers’ potential wants and needs allows us to develop strategies to meet these needs and provide innovation bank customers value.

Tracy Garrad, chief executive of first direct, said: “At first direct we understand the future of banking will mean new products and new ways of delivering tailored services to customers. But with ever expanding choice, the customer of the future will increasingly want integrated multi-channel services, and simple, straightforward experiences.

“Innovation will provide greater security, and greater opportunity for customisation, but the bank customer of the future will also be influenced by emotional and values driven factors too. To be successful, the bank of the future will need to excel in delivering fast, efficient, convenient experiences but also in creating trusted relationships with an emotional connection.”

The bank of the future: two potential bank models in 2025

  1. The Personal Assistant


Functional efficiency will be key. Bank customers will demand a ‘personal footprint’ of preferences to which service delivery is aligned

Expectation of simplicity, speed and convenience

Demand for transparency of options, information and bills

Needs met

Greater interconnectivity between customers’ spending and borrowing and bank systems will help with the development of tailored services and products

Seamless multichannel banking will allow bank customers to do their banking wherever and whenever it’s convenient; solutions and innovations will be developed and made available in hours and days

Reducing complexity will remain a focus for all future banks

  1. The Trusted Advisor


Requirement for emotional connection, empathy and advice

Banks will need to demonstrate a deep knowledge of customer personalities, emotions and tastes

Proof that the bank is acting in the customer’s interests

Co-creation of new products and services

Needs met

Customer service and trust will become even more important, and bank customers’ will still want to speak to highly trained advisors when they need to

Intuitive systems will be able to use more information about customers’ spending and borrowing habits, in order to provide better services at relevant times and through preferred channels

Bespoke services will mean bank customers can pick and choose services according to their personal needs; notifications will take place in real-time to provide key updates

Bank customers are likely to become more involved in two-way discussions as ‘consultants’, in partnership with their bank to create products and services

Seven key factors affecting the bank customer of the future:

  1. Convenience

User expectations are growing for banks to provide simplified, streamlined payment technologies = increasingly bank customers expect to be able to switch between devices to manage their accounts.  Chatting with a bank advisor whilst online will become more common, but at times people will still want to pick up the phone and speak to a real – and helpful – person.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Bank customers are increasingly demanding the use of real-time data to shape and enhance the service they receive = AI can help analyse large data sets to reveal patterns, trends and associations.  Examples from other industries show it can increase customer satisfaction at point of contact and help deliver new products and services.

  1. Emerging generations

Millennials display distinct behaviours and attitudes towards ownership compared with previous generations, yet still share many of their aspirations = banks will increasingly look to develop products specifically targeted at their needs and wants, such as mortgages for people buying later in life, and new types of travel related products.

  1. Increasing power of customers

Customers will gain power due to mobile augmented reality.  Reputation and security will become key drivers of success for banks and other service providers = customer ratings and recommendations, as well as online communities and forums, have huge influence.  Service will be key for banks, and so will security.  Biometric security systems – such as Touch and Voice ID – are already being developed.

  1. Individualisation

In the me society, many individuals will want to access products and services which are as tailored and personalised as possible = without personalisation of products and services, banks risk losing customer loyalty; account aggregation and bespoke budgeting tools will help customers to achieve their goals.

  1. Network economy

Social platforms are already becoming an important mode of interaction with the bank customers, and this will increase further = many bank customers already use social media or price comparison websites to inform decisions, and responding to this in real-time will be key for banks.

  1. Sensorisation

Data from sensors in products will allow for better, more immediate and even proactive customer service = the global market for sensors in wearables is expected to grow exponentially.

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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